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Entries in Anger (8)

Tuesday
Oct102017

Avengers [Please Do Not] Assemble!

Kaley Faith Rhea is a funny, faith-filled young woman with a strong voice for the Lord. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she encourages us to not repay "evil for evil."

"Want to know something the Bible goes over and over and over again? I’m not talking about love or peace or forgiveness," Kaley says. "I’m talking VENGEANCE."

Something about that word makes me (Dawn) shudder. That couldn't possibly be a Christian issue, right? Oh, yes it is. Often.

Kaley continues . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good Marvel movie or book as much as the next gal. Sometimes more. Sometimes maybe too much. I might be watching Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as I write this. Who knows?

But seriously, take a look with me at what the Scripture says about revenge. It’s in there a shocking number of times.

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Well, that’s just one instance of ... Oh, wait.

“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Okay, so twice it’s… Hmmm.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17).

I’d almost say Scripture is beating a dead horse about the subject, but it seems like it’s actually all about blessing the dead horse and repaying the dead horse’s evil with good.

Wait, what?

Do we even struggle that much with the desire for revenge in our modern, everyday lives?

When I think of the word "vengeance," I think of blood feuds or wrathful vendettas of old. But we come across vengeance every day.

  • Sometimes we call it “getting even.”
  • Or making sure someone “gets what they deserve.”
  • Or even “standing up for myself.”

To be clear, if someone has hurt you and remains unrepentant, it may be very necessary to place boundaries on that relationship. And if you are in an abusive situation, do not let anyone tell you you have an obligation to remain there.

But I’m talking about that very human, very dark instinct that is able to rationalize and even righteous-ize the thinking for slights big and small:

“I am hurt. And in my anger, all I want is for you to hurt too.”

Paul wrote,

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).

  • Seeking to get even robs you of your peace.
  • It reveals a lack of trust in the Lord.
  • It obliterates an opportunity to show the love of Christ.

Did you notice the part where it says “If possible, so far as it depends on you”? It won’t always be possible to live peaceably with everyone.

Where there is sin, you may be called to lovingly confront. Whether that person responds peacefully or with the same kind of love is up to them. But, beloved, “never avenge yourselves.”

If this seems impossible, well, it is. This is something we need to ask Jesus to do in and through us. Every day. Every time a car cuts us off or a coworker whispers behind our backs.

Let Jesus be your example and your strength. That way, as He works in you and through you to take a bad situation and do something good, God gets all the glory.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

So by all means, dress like Thor or Wasp or Ms. Marvel or any of the other Avengers for your costume parties this year. But when you do, use the opportunity as a reminder for your heart that the One we really want to look most like is Jesus.

When are you tempted to seek revenge? Which of the three everyday examples of "revenge" do you struggle with most?

Kaley Faith Rhea is a co-author of the Christian rom-com novel, Turtles in the Road, with two more books in the works to release in 2018. She also co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Article adapted from the Bible study companion to Turtles in the Road.

Graphic adapted, Open clip art vector courtesy of Pixabay.

Thursday
Mar022017

"Even Though"—How to Upgrade Angry Reactions

Kolleen Lucariello's desire is to help people embrace their identity in Christ in practical ways. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she deals with anger and how our relationship with the Lord can change our responses.

"Don’t Get Mad, Get Even. This thought randomly ran through my mind,” Kolleen says, “as Pat and I traveled south down the Interstate in early January.

I (Dawn) was just cut off on a San Diego highway as a man quickly moved from one lane— across mine—to rush toward an off-ramp, putting several cars in danger. I panicked, and oh yes, I got that sudden angry response. Kolleen has a insight for us about how to deal with life's tough circumstances with a more scriptural response.

Kolleen continues . . .

Our GPS was programmed to guide us straight to the driveway of our son and daughter-in-law’s home, and I had just witnessed one more incidence of road rage on the highway (and my husband was not involved!).

We’ve observed some pretty scary moments during our travel time when angry drivers decide they wouldn’t get mad—they’d get evenbehind the wheel of a vehicle.

I was surprised a few days later when this same thought crossed MY mind as I felt my mad inside begin to rise. Don’t get mad, get even.

It’s been quite a few years since that’s been my motto for getting through life. Yet, over the next few days, the slightest irritation brought this phrase to mind.

I began to notice how effortlessly it is for some to quickly move into the get even lane.

But why had I?

Where was this sudden urge to get even for every offense coming from?

  • Did I have suppressed anger?
  • Was the constant chatter on social media making me hostile?
  • Hormones, maybe?

I decided it was time to pray and ask God to fill me in.  That’s when one word was added to the statement.

Though.

Now, the sentence running through my mind was, don’t get mad, get even… though. With an emphasis on even though.

Just a few days later I read this, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he [even though a slave] became a successful and prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian” (Genesis 39:2, AMP).

There it was, even though, and along with it, came my answer.

You upgrade your reaction when you:

1. Trust God is with you, even though you’re distressed, full of anguish and your cry seems unheard.

His very own brothers had sold Joseph into slavery. Can you imagine?  They saw the distress and anguish as Joseph pleaded for them to let him go but, the Amplified Bible says, they “would not listen to his cry” and he found himself a slave in another country (Genesis 42:21).

All betrayal is rough, but betrayal by a spouse, sibling, parent or the closest of friends strikes a devastating blow.

Betrayal inflicts such intense anguish and distress, you may wonder how you will ever survive. We can become slaves to the pain as we find ourselves wandering in a strange, unknown and unwanted land, where cries for mercy go unheard.

But just as God was with Joseph, even though he found himself in Egypt, He is with us in our even though land too.

2. Trust God is able to prosper you and bring you success, even though your circumstances are not what you dreamed.

Remember Joseph’s dreams? Sheaves bowed down to him. Evidently, he was able to move on from the delay of the dream. He excelled in everything that he did even though he was a slave; and because the Lord was always with him, he found success and prosperity.

I’m certain Joseph never imagined he’d find himself a slave in Egypt. He’s the perfect example for us of someone living out Colossians 3: 23-24:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (NIV).

The Lord is with those who protect their attitude even though the work might not be exactly what we dreamed.

3. Trust God’s purposes even though we may not understand them at the time.

Something I find remarkable in the story of Joseph is this: not once is there any mention of Joseph plotting in his heart how to get even with anyone who betrayed himnot his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, nor the chief cupbearer who failed to follow through on his promise to remember Joseph when he was released from prison. Not even Potiphar for assuming the worst and never seeking to hear his side of the story. Not once.

Instead, he saw God in the even though when he stood face to face with his brothers and recognized that even though they intended evil towards him, God’s intended purpose was for good.

Rather than living by the don’t get mad, get even motto, add the word though as a reminder of how God can bless us in our even though moments.

Are you going through something right now that tempts you to get even? How can the truth of “even though” help you upgrade your reaction?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ, one letter at a time. Connect with Kolleen here.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Megapixelstock, Stocksnap.io.

Thursday
Sep012016

Why Do I Do What I Do Wrong?

Kathy Collard Miller is an author and speaker who encourages women to apply practical principles from the Word of God. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she explores some ways to find the underlying causes of destructive responses.

We’ve all said things like, “He makes me feel…” or “I feel bad when she does that.” But the truth is we are responsible for our own choices," Kathy says. "Putting that into practice can actually diminish unwise choices."

I (Dawn) think that is fascinating because so many people think they can grit their teeth and swear to never respond hurtfully again. I've done this—haven't you? Kathy's insights help us consider the "why" behind our responses.

She continues . . .

It’s easy to blame a person or circumstance for the way we’re acting, but the truth is our wrong reactions have a long history.

It’s true for all of us. We see the pain we cause others or even ourselves, and it seems like we should just grab God’s power and never do it again. But there are reasons for our continuing ungodly choices.

Heres how to discover and correct the underlying causes.

 1. Look to the past to see the beginning.

When painful things happen to us as children, we blame ourselves. We “hear” a message that somehow “I’m the cause. I must be hopeless, unloveable, incapable," etc.

When I was molested as an eight-year-old, I felt like a shameful little girl who should have prevented it from happening:

“I better act perfectly to hide my dirtiness.”

Of course those were lies, but I believed them.

Anytime someone implied I should do a better job at something, I became angry— blaming them; I didn’t want to be exposed as imperfect.

As an adult, by seeing the lies I was believing, I replaced it with God’s truth:

I wasn’t responsible for the abuse, and God loves me even though I’m imperfect.

Author Mike Wilkerson writes,It’s not our raw experiences that determine our lives but the meaning we make of them—the stories we tell and the stories we believe.”

2. Look to the present to see the threat.

Every time we react sinfully (anger, contempt, procrastination, passive/aggressive, etc.) we feel like someone or something is threatening our good self-image, our comfort, our finances—anything we value.

Many times what we value become “idols.” We “worship” those rather than looking to God to define, comfort, or provide for us.

James wrote, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (4:15-16).

The most difficult thing is surrendering to however God allows people to treat us or circumstances to assail us.

That doesn’t mean we never share our opinions or take action. But instead of automatically reacting, we must seek God first. Just because it seems “natural” to respond our usual way, we may not be reacting “supernaturally” in God’s power. Blaming, worry, defensiveness and other ungodly reactions seem to protect us but don’t bring glory to God or fulfill His will.

3. Look to God’s perspective of the person or situation.

When we overreact, we take other people’s actions personally. We feel like were back to being blamed, labeled or attacked like we were as children.

But most of the time, that person is just trying to protect themselves. It’s not about us, it’s about their insecurity or lack of trust in God.

And any difficult circumstances is God’s gift of transforming us, not to destroy us. Instead of fighting off the “threat,” we can look through God’s eyes of love and grace.

One perspective is to have “godly sorrow.” Godly sorrow sees another person’s attack as hurting them, not us.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1-3 ESV).

Can you imagine that kind of surrender?

Paul didn’t take their attacks personally; he wanted the best for them.

God can empower us to have that kind of reaction. We can be gracious as we speak the truth in love.

Which of those three insights would you like to concentrate on so that your “natural” reactions can turn into “supernatural” reactions?

Kathy Collard Miller loves to help women trust God more through her 50 books and her speaking in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her website/blog and discover more about her speaking ministry here. Kathy has authored many magazine articles and more than 50 books, including Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries and her newest book Choices of the Heart, a Bible study, available here. The insights in this blog are based on her book Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today found here.

Graphic: courtesy of PourquoiPas, Pixabay.

Monday
Mar162015

Anger Expert or Patience Pro?

Kathy Collard Miller is an author and speaker who encourages women to trust God. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she helps us trust the Lord with an attitude that can be destructive:  Anger! 

“Why do I keep getting angry?" Kathy said. "I want to be patient, but life and people are aggravating."

I (Dawn) used to think anger was other people's problem. I didn't have a problem losing my temper.

But if we have an undercurrent of anger, it can burst forth in other problems like bitterness, an unforgiving spirit or even something as simple as avoiding people.

Kathy continues . . . 

Life and people are aggravating. We pray for patience, but as someone has said, “Don’t pray for patience; God will give you many opportunities to practice.”

That was certainly true for me.

For many years, I was an anger expert. It was my “go-to” response. I prayed for deliverance but I still was destructively angry. In moments of temptation, I felt helpless and believed I didn’t have a choice.

But the truth is, anger is a choice.

Holding ourselves responsible rather than excusing our destructive reaction will lay a foundation for slowing down our reactions and allowing God to show us alternatives.

How can we “slow down”? When life (or someone) throws something aggravating at us, we need to literally take a deep breath and ask ourselves, “What’s going on here?”

Here are three causes of anger that you can consider in that moment.

1. Anger comes from having a goal blocked.

When we desire a certain thing and someone does something or says something that blocks that desire, we react in frustration. Unfortunately, this only means that that “certain thing” has become more important than God. We are choosing a destructive reaction to make sure we receive what we think we need and we’re not trusting that God can provide it for us.

We don’t have to force anything to happen when we truly believe God will provide what we need. He promises in Philippians 4:19:

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

In that moment of “slowing down,” ask yourself, “Is there something I value that I think is being withheld? If so, can I choose to trust that God will provide what’s best for me according to His plan?”

2. Anger’s source could be a fear of being seen a certain negative way.

Since childhood, I’ve been very sensitive to not appearing stupid. That seems horrible to me. So when someone treats or responds to me with what seems like a suggestion that I’m stupid or don’t know something, I can become angry.

Why does anger seem like a solution? Because my anger points to something they do wrong and it takes the focus off of my “stupidity.”

Sometimes, my husband, Larry, will sincerely ask me, “What were you thinking when you did that?” What do I “hear”? “You must have been stupid to choose that.” I’m embarrassed and feel shamed. So what do I do? Point the finger back onto him with an angry response by rehearsing some way that he did something wrong. But I can choose differently in God’s power.

In that moment of “slowing down,” ask yourself, “Is there some way I don’t want to be seen right now?" Regardless of how I’m viewed by others, God views me as His daughter through my inheritance in Christ, as Ephesians 1 says.

3. Anger may erupt from not knowing what else to do.

For instance, when my two-year-old disobeyed me, I felt helpless, not knowing how to respond. But forming a plan beforehand empowered me to have options. I wrote down in a column the primary ways my strong-willed daughter disobeyed me. Then in the opposite column, I wrote out one consequence I could give for each disobedience. I then posted the paper where I could see it. Having options removed my helpless feeling, and my anger.

Of course, we can’t anticipate every situation of life that might come our way, but we can try to plan as much as possible with God’s wisdom.

Then in that moment of “slowing down,” ask yourself, “What options do I have? Lord, enlighten my thinking right now. You promise in James 1:5 to give me wisdom.”

God used an awareness of these three possible causes of anger to transform my responses. I actually did become more patient . . . and wise.

Which of those three sources cause your anger most often and how does God want to use that knowledge to empower you to be more patient?

Kathy Collard Miller loves to help women trust God more through her 50 books and her speaking in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Kathy’s latest book is Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today (Leafwood) from which this article has been adapted. Check it out at http://amzn.to/1ITmLfy. Visit Kathy's website/blog at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

Tuesday
Sep162014

10 Keys to Defusing Anger

Poppy Smith's humor and wisdom invite women to think through serious issues. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she shares insight about the anger that trips us up in our relationships.

“Everyone gets angry from time to time,” says Poppy. “Some people think there’s nothing they can do about it, but there is. God provides not only life-changing advice, He also provides the power we need to zip our lips.”

Now I (Dawn) seldom get angry ... externally. But boy, can I seethe inside! I need Poppy's wisdom.

Poppy continues ...

Flying through Chicago airport recently I heard a woman shouting at the Boarding Agent. Everyone swiveled around to see what was happening. I didn’t catch the reason for her angry outburst but she had no intention of keeping it to herself.

After taking her abuse for so long, the Agent locked up his desk and disappeared.

Five minutes later he reappeared with a burly man in a bright yellow vest—clearly a “mediator” of some kind. Talking softly and soothingly to the irate customer, he helped her calm down and listen to what the airline could do to help with her frustration. She was wiping her tears as I heard my call to board.

Whether you’re angry at an airline employee, fuming in traffic, annoyed at work, or irritated at home–what is going on? If your anger erupts fast and hot, what can you do?

Those of us “blessed” with the gift of being verbal often need help with controlling our tongues and temper.

At least, I do!

I want to live an emotionally healthy and happy life–not to mention one that reflects my relationship with Jesus.  As I’ve prayed about my problem and practiced what God has shown me, I’ve discovered ten keys to turning off our ready to blow inner fuse-box. 

ASK Yourself:

1. What is making me angry?

2. Were my expectations reasonable given the circumstances? Had I made them known?

3. Am I feeling anger–or is there something else underneath. What is the real problem?

4. Is my anger justified or am I making a mountain out of a molehill, blowing off steam and blaming?

5. Am I mind-reading, claiming the person I’m angry with should have known how I’d feel?

6. Is my self-talk feeding my anger?

7. Will my anger bring about what I desire—a better relationship, less stress, a solution?

CALM Yourself:

8. Change your “should” statements to: It would have been nice if…. I wish the situation were …

9. Stop and identify what thoughts “trigger” your anger. focus on thoughts that cool you down.

10. Evaluate your responses: Was something said or done intentionally to upset you?

     PRAY for control and SPEAK TRUTH to yourself.

Tell yourself, “With God’s help I can cope, I can tolerate the situation, there are solutions, and I can learn new responses.”

Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity” (Prov.14: 29, The Message).

“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1, The Message).

If we’re wise, we intentionally choose to set a guard over our mouths.

Three powerful words that I’ve etched in my mind are ZIP YOUR LIPS! Try practicing this phrase over and over before you need it—you’ll be glad you did.

What makes you mad? Which of these keys can you use to help defuse your anger?

Poppy Smith is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. A former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader with a Masters in Spiritual Formation, she is a multi-published author who speaks globally challenging women to make their lives count by looking at their choices, attitudes, and relationship with God. Poppy has just returned from ministry in China and had a fun time signing her one book that is in Chinese! Visit her website.